The Big Solar Co-op has said that the £840,000 investment will enable the first solar panels in its West Midlands portfolio to be installed. Image: Pixabay.

Following the end of the first share offer on 10 December 2022, the Big Solar Co-op, a Shrewsbury-based not-for-profit organisation, has announced that over 250 people have collectively invested more than £840,000 to support the development of a portfolio of solar projects in the West Midlands. 

In June last year, the company confirmed that the first three Midlands-based rooftop solar projects will consist of a 120kWp installation on a farm machinery manufacturer based in Ludlow, a 300kWp installation on a food-processing plant in Tenbury Wells and a 30kWp installation on a doctor’s surgery in Birmingham.

The investment will also be used to progress the organisation’s community and commercial rooftop pipeline – which currently consists of 100 commercial rooftops.

Since the development portfolio’s launch in July 2022, Big Solar Co-op has reported that a further 3MW of potential large solar rooftops have been added.

The announcement follows the organisation attaining its minimum investment target of £600,000 for its first solar installations, last October.

“We’ve got a pipeline of over 100 large commercial rooftops wanting solar to cut both carbon emissions and energy costs, with our first installations happening in the West Midlands in the New Year,” said Noël Lambert, national coordinator of Big Solar Co-op.

“We are really pleased that our first share offer attracted such strong interest from investors, each of whom is helping bring co-operatively owned solar to places which are less sunny and less wealthy, with the surplus re-invested in more solar.”

Looking to the future Lambert added: “2023 is going to be a pivotal year for the Big Solar Co-op. Our first installs will be going up and the volunteers who have signed up to our worker member structure will really start to power the project.”

She also called on the UK Government to boost investment in new grid capacity to remove what she describes as “the biggest block” on solar’s economic growth.

The company hopes to install 100MW of rooftop solar by 2030, as well as create social investment opportunities to raise £25 million, to save community buildings and social housing more than £300,000 a year on their energy bills.